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PA asked employees in Gaza not to work and still get paid, but won’t allow them to leave Gaza

Headline: “What is not discussed in Gaza”

Op-ed by Riyad Al-Hassan, former Chairman of both the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation Board of Trustees and the official PA WAFA news agency

“The WAFA [official PA news agency] administration made an unjust decision against some of its employees in Gaza, under the pretext that they have moved to Egypt or other states, and stopped payment of their salaries and conditioned the continuation of their salaries on their return, otherwise they will be fired. I do not really know if there is a clause in the law or a regulation that prevents an employee in Gaza from moving to live outside of [Gaza]. What I know is that the relations between the PA and its employees are conditional relations – work for a salary. After the coup (i.e., Hamas takeover in 2007), a special situation was created for the employees in Gaza, which cancelled the same conditional relations and even turned it around, as the PA asked its employees not to work in return for receiving a salary. The employees accepted the PA’s demand and stopped working in order to guarantee the continued payment of their salaries. The question is – as long as we do not want these employees to work, and have no connection with them, why do we demand that they return? Logically, what is the message we are sending to them? Is it not: ‘Return to Gaza in order to do nothing!?’

Details of specific cases of these employees show that WAFA’s decision is not only an absurd step, but a most damaging step. For instance, one of these employees was arrested a number of times by the Hamas security forces in 2009, and they again persecuted him in 2010, and he had no choice but to secretly enter Egypt through the tunnels, where he succeeded in getting by and invited his wife to live with him in Cairo with his modest salary (i.e., from the PA). Is it permissible to force him to return to Gaza in order to do nothing? And if it is permissible regarding him, why do we find hundreds of Gazan employees who are living in Cairo and their salaries regularly reach them?”